Preservation Massachusetts introduced the Mayor Thomas M. Menino Legacy Award
. This award was created to honor the incredible contribution that Mayor Menino made to the historic preservation community and celebrate projects that are transformative, create community partnerships and preserve the best of our cities and towns to make something good for the future.
We are pleased to announce that the 2017 winner of this award.
516 Columbia Road,
Planning Office for Urban Affairs, Inc., an affiliate of the Boston Archdiocese
The Architectural Team
Klein Hornig, LLP
Corcoran Management Company
From Telephone to Church:
516 Columbia Road began as a New England Telephone Company building constructed circa 1924 and served as such until the 1940's. It was purchased by the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Boston and converted into St. Kevin's Church and a parish school. It served the neighborhood as an important religious, educational and cultural center for the Dorchester community of Uphams Corner for 65 years until it was closed in 2008.
When the complex closed, several neighborhood
organizations convened a "St. Kevin's Area Planning Collaborative" to establish a shared vision for the reuse of the property. They held meetings over many months and developed principals and guidelines for the reuse. When the Planning Office for Urban Affairs (POUA), an affiliate of the Boston Archdiocese got involved as the property's developer, they embraced the community's visioning efforts and worked to incorporate as much of it as possible into the final development plan. POUA also developed a strong working relationship with the community and groups such as Uphams Corner Main Streets and the Uphams Corner Westside Neighborhood Association.
New Life and New Use:
The Uphams Crossing project provides critically needed affordable workforce housing the the community. 80 units total were created (21 of which are in 516 Columbia Road) and 20 were for formerly homeless Boston families. These families have permanent affordable housing and a full time on-site social worker to ensure they get the services they need. The project also created extensive resident and public gathering spaces available to the community for meetings and events. The buildings are also LEED Silver Certifiable.
A Special Connection:
Uphams Crossing represents a significant public and private investment in the community, reusing a building that has stood for over 90 years, retaining an important part of the streetscape and also bringing more residents to a strong retail district. What is most special about the project is the connection to Mayor Menino. The groundbreaking for Uphams Crossing occurred one week before his final day as Mayor. As a courageous leader and advocate for affordable housing, this project hits at the very heart of his commitment to helping the housing-deprived. For him and many others, this type of work is personal and helping the people who will live in these buildings, it strikes at the human side of restoration, preservation, the creation of housing for people to live in, not just occupy.
In 2016 the Uphams Crossing was voted "The Best New Family Development" in the nation by Affordable Housing Finance Magazine. This project truly embodies the legacy of Mayor Menino and is an amazing model for others to emulate as they bring endeavor to bring life back to historic buildings, strengthen our community ties, build partnerships and strive to create something good for the future.
Congratulations POUA, the City of Boston and their entire project team for this wonderful and deserving project!
Uphams Crossing will be celebrated at our Annual Awards Dinner on
May 10 at the Fairmont Copley Plaza in Boston.
For information on the dinner, tickets and this year's awardees,